A weighty problem- how the protein TPD52 regulates cellular lipid storage


This project seeks to better understand why some cancer cells contain high levels of stored lipid, and whether this property can be targeted for cancer therapy.


Professor Jennifer Byrne, Dr Yuyan Chen

Research Location

Westmead - Childrens Hospital at Westmead Clinical School

Program Type



Cells need to store lipid to carry out many basic cellular functions. However, aberrant lipid storage contributes to common human diseases, including cancer. Our laboratory has recently made the unexpected finding that the oncogene tumor protein D52 (TPD52) increases lipid storage in cells. TPD52 may therefore contribute to cancer through its effects on lipid storage and metabolism.

This project will use lipid targeting drugs to understand how TPD52 increases lipid storage within the storage organelle, or lipid droplet. We will study the effects of lipid-targeting drugs upon different cancer cell lines with both high and low levels of stored lipid. At the same time, we will measure drug effects upon TPD52 sub-cellular localisation, particularly at the Golgi apparatus and lipid droplets. The project will involve cell culture, drug treatment, quantification of lipid droplets using lipophilic dyes and confocal microscopy, and the subcellular detection of TPD52 and other markers of Golgi and lipid droplet function using indirect immunofluorescence.

The project will also involve protein extractions from cells, Western blot analyses, and cell viability assays.

Additional Information

Please contact Prof Byrne for more specific project details and scholarship information.

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Cancer Metabolism, lipid metabolism, Obesity & overweight

Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is: 94